- Understanding Radiation Therapy: A Guide for Patients and Families
- What is radiation therapy? When is it used?
- How does radiation therapy work?
- Do the benefits outweigh the risks and side effects?
- How much does radiation treatment cost?
- Who gives radiation treatments?
- Informed consent
- How is radiation therapy given?
- External radiation therapy
- Internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy)
- Systemic radiation therapy
- Preventing and managing side effects
- Skin problems
- Hair loss
- Blood count changes
- Eating problems
- How will I feel emotionally?
- Will side effects limit my activity?
- Are there long-term side effects I should be concerned about?
- Managing side effects of treatment to certain parts of the body
- Radiation therapy to the head and neck
- Radiation therapy to the brain
- Radiation therapy to the breast and chest
- Radiation therapy to the stomach and abdomen
- Radiation therapy to the pelvis
- Follow-up care
- To learn more
Blood count changes
Radiation therapy can cause low white blood cell counts or low levels of platelets, but this is rare. These blood cells help your body fight infection and prevent bleeding. If your blood tests show changes in your counts, treatment might be delayed for a week or so to allow your blood counts to return to normal. This side effect is more likely if you are also getting chemotherapy.
Last Medical Review: 01/24/2013
Last Revised: 01/24/2013